2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition First Drive
I recently spent a day in California, driving the 2020 Dodge Charger widebody lineup, including the 485-horsepower Scat Pack, the 707-horsepower Hellcat and the 717-horsepower Hellcat Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition. You can click here to read my review of the Scat Pack and the “standard” Hellcat, including in-car footage of each supercharged sedan on the track, but I wanted to talk about the Daytona model on its own.
The Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition for the 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is really an appearance package, but to allow it to better stand out from the rest of the high performance four-door lineup, the engine tune has been tweaked to rev a little higher, adding 10 horsepower to the peak numbers. That power really doesn’t come through during road course testing, but this isn’t a car that you buy for the 10 extra horsepower and that is why I am discussing it separately of the non-Daytona Hellcat Charger.
Driving the Charger Hellcat Daytona
The 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition that we drove in California appeared to be the exact same car that was on display at the 2019 Woodward Dream Cruise, wearing the serial number of 000 out of 501. I suspect that this is currently the only example of the Charger Hellcat Daytona in B5 Blue, so I was pretty surprised that we got to drive it. Best of all, we didn’t drive it on the street – we drove it on the intricate road course of Sonoma Raceway – so we got to push the car to its limits.
While I was at the event and in the days following, many people who saw my pictures from the event asked if I could feel the extra 10 horsepower. Perhaps if we were drag racing or had long straightaways in which we could truly run the Hellcat Daytona wide open, we may have been able to feel that difference in power over the 707-horsepower Charger, but on the tight turns and short straights of Sonoma, the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition felt just like the non-Daytona version. However, that isn’t a bad thing by any means.
For a sedan that likely weighed more than 4,600 pounds with myself and my driving instructor included, the 2020 Charger Hellcat Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition handles the Indy Car Circuit of Sonoma very well. The 305- millimeter wide Pirelli tires of the new widebody design offer improved grip in the turns and better traction coming out of the turns, so while it is still quite easy to drift on the sweeping corners, there is no question that the wider tires and retuned suspension leads to a better-handling super sedan.
Of course, in the short straightaways, the 717-horsepower Hemi shoves you hard into the seat, easily reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour in the tight confines of Sonoma Raceway, and when you hit the next turn, the massive Brembo brakes bring the supercharged four-door down to a management speed in an instant.
The Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition performs beautifully, but in my time on the track, I didn’t find that it offered a noticeable difference in performance over the non-Daytona 2020 Charger Hellcat. However, you don’t pick the Daytona model because you want improved performance. Sure, the extra 10 horsepower is a nice bonus, but added performance is not the focus of this package. The Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition is a limited edition appearance package and in the bright California sun, it really is gorgeous. The appearance is why you buy this package, while the limited nature leads to a bit of exclusivity that has not previously been available with the Hellcat Charger.
A Less Sinister Appearance
The Dodge lineup has taken an obvious performance-focused approach and in doing so, the designers have created aggressive, menacing cars that I love. Part of the design approach is lots of dark accents, which has become relatively popular across the performance world, with dark interiors, dark headlights, dark wheels and black-painted exterior accents including the hood, roof and trunk lid. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, as my own Hellcat Challenger has black wheels, a black hood and black interior, but all of the high performance Dodge vehicles have a dark, brooding attitude that is very popular.
That being said, not everyone wants that dark look and that is where the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition comes into play. While the package can be ordered in black, white and silver, B5 Blue is exclusive to the Hellcat Daytona models and having seen it under the sun, it is my opinion that everyone who orders one of these 501 units should get the blue. I am sure that there will be some sold in the other colors, but the combination of the bright B5 Blue paint, the silver-painted wheels and the bright white tail stripe create a much “lighter” look than the rest of the Hellcat lineup. Even though there was a Hellcat Charger widebody with the same Go Mango-and-black layout as what is featured on my own Hellcat Challenger, the B5 Daytona was the best-looking test car on display when I was there.
The inside looks great too, with blue stitching on the black leather and Daytona-specific trim bits, including the serial number plaque on the passenger’s side of the dashboard, but the star of this show is the exterior appearance. If you want a widebody Hellcat Charger that will stand out from the crowd, the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition is the one for you.
When the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat were introduced, many people bought them with the hopes that they would be relatively low production, making them rare-and-valuable collectables in the near future. That has not been the case, as Dodge has produced more than 40,000 Hellcat cars over the past five years, so they don’t offer the exclusivity and collectability that some people would like.
On the other hand, with the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition being limited to just 501 units, this is the first Hellcat car that we know won’t be sold in huge numbers. Yes, I know that there are certain color combinations which are rarer than the Daytona package, but with this being a complete package with a set production limit – this should come to be one of the more collectable Hellcat cars in the future.
That being said, the exclusivity is just another bonus for a great looking appearance package and buyers shouldn’t expect to flip the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition and make a bunch of money in a couple of years, but if you are looking to buy a 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and you want a unique look with limited production – you want to order a Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition.
Patrick Rall is a professional writer and photographer with a passion for all things automotive. Patrick has been sharing his automotive expertise in automotive journalism from Detroit for more than a decade covering the Big Three. Having grown up in his father’s performance shop, he spent extensive time at the oval track and drag strip – both driving and wrenching on various types of vehicles. In addition to working as a writer, Patrick previously worked as an automotive technician before moving on to a business office position with a chain of dealerships, and this broad spectrum of experience in the industry allows him to offer a unique look on the automotive world. Follow Patrick on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.